Around this time last year, we compiled a list of some of the Best Books Set Near Our Apartments For Rent in Tulsa. This time we’re back at it with another list of great books, this time featuring authors who were born in Tulsa or spent a large portion of their life near our apartments in Tulsa, OK. If you made it through our first list and are ready for more great reads, you’re in luck! The following poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books are excellent candidates for your next reading session.
An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo is the current United States Poet Laureate as well as a musician, author, and playwright. A member of the Mvskoke Nation born in Tulsa, she is an important figure in the Native American Renaissance. Her book of poetry entitled An American Sunrise explores the experience and significance of returning to her family’s lands. This poetry collection holds space for the trauma of American’s indigenous people, especially that of the Mvskoke, as well as for hope and resilience. A poignant read.
Justice Returns by William Bernhardt
A prolific thriller/mystery writer, William Bernhardt has been nominated for the Oklahoma Book Award seventeen times (winning twice). Most known for his Ben Kincaid series, his books tend to revolve around courtroom drama and crime mysteries. In Justice Returns, Ben Kincaid works to help a victim of the CIA’s torturous “enhanced interrogation techniques” get justice for his inhumane treatment.
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
We’ll repeat this from last year’s list because it’s just that good (and no list of Tulsa books would be complete without it). If you haven’t read The Outsiders already, it’s well worth a read. Although never explicitly stated, the book is set in Tulsa in 1965. This fictional novel explores young characters affected by a class war manifesting in the violent conflict between two rival gangs. While the book frequently appears on banned books lists, it also commonly appears on many middle and high school reading curriculums. If you’re looking for a gritty classic with plenty of social commentary, this might be the one for you.
Race Matters by Cornel West
An important philosopher, activist, and public intellectual writing on the subjects of race, gender, and class in American society, Cornel West was born in Tulsa before he earned his PhD at Princeton. In the essay collection Race Matters, West addresses a variety of topics central to the Black political struggle, including the LA riots following the Rodney King verdict, Malcolm X, and Clarence Thomas & Anita Hill. If you’re looking to expand your awareness of the intersection of Black oppression and political structures, this is a must-read.
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